Do We Benefit From Benefits?

Thankfully, especially at this current juncture with the cost of living crisis taking hold, I am in receipt of disability benefits. I suffer not only from RLS but several chronic pain conditions, each bringing their own quirks to my existence.

The UK government is permanently discussing how it can reduce the benefits budget. It is presently considering telling benefit recipients what they can spend their money on. As you would imagine, all those who receive disability payments are up in arms, as our monthly spending is as varied as our disabilities.

The high cost of phone and internet services

Suffering from RLS, as I have previously mentioned, I spend most nights trudging around my apartment, watching TV in loops, and making tea as the mood (and advert breaks) takes me. To enable me to have "interesting" television programmes and films to entertain myself, I subscribe to satellite television.

Not only do I subscribe to satellite TV, I also have the same company's broadband package, the same company's landline, and the same company's cellular package. Totting up my monthly payments, I am almost at a total of nearly £200. They promise package deals if you take every one of their options, but funnily enough, the deals never seem to materialise!

Ask anyone who works full-time if they consider that total as a large quantity of money, and you could receive two answers: YES, as they work full-time and do not require these subscriptions in their life, or NO, meaning they either have children or are unemployed/disabled.

Good quality internet is costly

When you find yourself in the unenviable position of relying on government payments, your life has to adjust. You can go from paying to refuel your car or buying season passes for public transport to walking 20 steps in 1 day (if you are lucky!). The "meal deal" lunch is forgotten, replaced with 2 homemade sandwiches, a chocolate bar, and a mug of tea.

The phone calls asking if you want to go out for the night cease, leaving you alone on the couch with a stuffed teddy bear for company. Your existence becomes insular. Satellite TV ensures you can watch true-life series, whilst Netflix and Disney+ give you vintage and current film choices. Obviously, when you decide to stream films, you need to ensure you have the fastest, most stable internet service. All of these cost vastly more money than your basic options.

Everyone's idea of 'too much' is different

So, if you speak to other sufferers of RLS (or any other disability!) and you inevitably find yourself enquiring as to how much their essential bills cost them per month, remember that everyone's lives are different. Even if you consider £200 to be a lot of money for services you use rarely, put yourself in their shoes — or my shoes, which are permanently walking from approximately 8 PM till 8 AM. I definitely get my 10,000 steps in!

To me, this is something that will start to impact more and more sick and disabled people as governments in first-world countries try to scrape back funds that are leaching from their coffers.

Are there "essentials" you pay for that you feel you just can't live without due to your RLS? Share with us in the comments below!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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